Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Ivanka Trump's Proverb Leaves Chinese Internet Users Puzzled


Ivanka Trump lit up social media on Monday after tweeting a piece of wisdom she attributed as an ancient Chinese saying: "Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it".

Her tweet came on the eve of the day when her father, Donald Trump, met the North Korean leader at Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Island to hold talks, in a bid to resolve the decades-long nuclear stand-off between the two countries.

Rather than impressed by the tweet, however, users on China's social media sites were puzzled at whether this was a Chinese saying at all.

"'This not even remotely an actual Chinese proverb.' - Chinese Proverb", angryasianman tweeted. The 36-year-old identified the quote as a "Chinese Proverb", prompting China's online users to collectively scratch their heads.

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Many pointed towards a classic Chinese idiom: "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game".

"Did you get that from a fortune cookie?" another netizen asked.

One user wrote: "It makes sense, but I still don't know which proverb it is".

Eventually, the Global Times actually sourced the quote to a 1903 news article, declaring that "the phrase quoted by Ivanka has actually no relation to China".

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It's not the first time Ivanka Trump has given China credit for an adage.

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts", she wrote, attributing the quote to Einstein, before quickly being informed by other Twitter users that this was not an Einstein quote. "To be fair, the Chinese language has hundreds and arguably thousands of times more proverbs and sayings than any other language", Herzberg said.

The website QuoteInvestigator.com, run by Garson O'Toole, found in 2015 that it may have originated in the United States in the early 1900s as a way of commenting on the innovation of the era.

However, he added: 'But why are Trump WH (White House) aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?.

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